To thrive in a diverse and global society, it is increasingly imperative that students’ curricular and co-curricular experiences prepare them to be future leaders in a global century. Between 1990 and 2015, the number of U.S. postsecondary students studying abroad for academic credit more than tripled. International educators consider study abroad a primary means of developing students’ global competence, yet scholars have expressed concerns about the lack of consistency and the strength of the findings in education abroad research.
The Global Century Project (IRB # 17-621), “Educating for a global century: Preparing leaders for success by connecting global competence and civic learning in international education,” is a three-year, $286,185 grant awarded to researchers in the School of Education.
The purpose of the Global Century Project is to explore the effects of students’ education abroad experiences on institutional and student outcomes as well as to gain insight into the extent to which students’ level of global competence and understanding of social responsibility change during their postsecondary education. The project is guided by two broad goals; each goal has four objectives.
Goal 1: Increase understanding of the effects of international education programs on institutional outcomes and student outcomes.
Objective 1: Employ a quasi-experimental longitudinal design with a comparison group.
Objective 2: Determine whether there is a selection effect between those students who engage in education abroad and those who stay on campus.
Objective 3: Determine the extent to which there are differences in outcomes among students who took advantage of education abroad experiences and those who remained on campus during the same period.
Objective 4: Determine changes in students’ understanding of global competence and social responsibility during their postsecondary experience.
Goal 2: Assist international educators in addressing the calls for curricular and co-curricular experiences that prepare students to be leaders in a global century.
Objective 1: Identify and describe programmatic components that have positive effects on institutional and student outcomes.
Objective 2: Debrief and consult with participating institutions regarding the results of the study to help them develop action plans and meaningfully interpret their data.
Objective 3: Develop a list of recommendations for good practice in education abroad.
Objective 4: Disseminate findings through publications and conference presentations.
Research Design and Institutional Partners
To explore the effects of education abroad and accomplish our goals, we will employ a quasi-experimental longitudinal research design with a comparison group. Multi-institutional studies offer stronger support for the link between student experiences and associated outcomes, while comparison groups, longitudinal research designs, and advanced statistical methods allow for stronger claims in observational data. Two national web-based institutional and program assessment tools will serve as the primary means of data collection: the Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory (PSRI) and the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI).
We will collect data for the Global Century Project for a three-year period: Year 1 (January-December 2018), Year 2 (January-December 2019) and Year 3 (January-August 2020). Students will be recruited from our institutional partners. These colleges and universities demonstrate an institutional commitment to providing—and improving the quality of—international education and education abroad experiences for their students. In addition, this diverse group of institutions will allow us to conduct a preliminary exploration of potential differences by institution and program type.
Eckerd is a small, private, not-for-profit liberal arts college in Florida. Each year, nearly 400 students participate in Eckerd’s education abroad programs. Currently, about 65% of the undergraduate population studies abroad during their time at Eckerd. Eckerd is a highly residential, exclusively undergraduate, bachelor’s degree granting institution.
San Diego State University
SDSU is a large, public, Hispanic serving university in California. Each year, more than 2,500 students participate in SDSU’s education abroad programs. Currently, about 35% of SDSU’s graduates have participated in an international experience during their time at SDSU. SDSU is a Community Engagement Classified Institution. It is a primarily nonresidential, high undergraduate, doctoral degree granting institution.
Gannon is a small, private, not-for-profit university in Pennsylvania. Gannon is a Community Engagement Classified Institution. It is a primarily residential, high undergraduate, doctoral degree granting institution.